Key Monastery

The lovely Ki Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Spiti Valley is located at a height of 4,166 m above sea level. It is an interesting addition to every spiritual traveler’s bucket list. The monastery covers a large area and includes numerous rooms connected by an intricate network of hallways. Some sections are three stories tall. This gompa, or monastery, served as both a monastery and a fort and is thought to have been constructed by Dromton (1008-1064 AD), a disciple of Buddhist master Atisa. Its construction date is unknown. Hundreds of lamas are currently undergoing religious training here. 

This tranquil monastery is home to many exquisite murals, paintings, and stucco pictures that are stunning specimens of 14th century monastic architecture. There are also peculiar wind instruments that are employed as part of the orchestra when the chham (masked and costume dance) dance is performed. A fine collection of weapons can also be seen, which may have been used anytime the monastery had been attacked by marauders.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama performed the Kalachakra ritual here in August 2000. This prayer is organized on an enormous scope with the goal of awakening each individual’s Buddha nature through various practices involving prayer, blessing, teaching, devotion, mantra, yoga, and meditation. It is fundamentally a quest for peace. Many people believe that by simply attending this initiation process, which lasts a few days, one might be rid of suffering and obtain enlightenment. The five basic subjects are cosmology, psycho-physiology, initiation, sadhana (learning), and attaining Buddhahood. 

How To Reach

The Key Monastery is 14 kilometers from Kaza, the monastery’s nearest bus terminal. To go to the Key Monastery, you must first get to Kaza, whether you are coming from Manali or Shimla. Several buses run from Manali and Shimla to Kaza, and the journey normally takes 10 to 12 hours.

You will then need to hire private cabs to get to the monastery, which takes around 40 minutes. The ascent to the monastery is steep and difficult. 


Best Time To Visit

The climate in Key Monastery is typically frigid due to its high altitude, yet it is nice during these months. Except for the monsoon month of August, the optimum time to visit this lovely monastery is from the middle of June until the beginning of September. The Himalayas experience considerable rain during this time of year, resulting in slick roads and landslides. 

If you are coming from Manali, you will need to pass the Rohtang Pass, which opens in the second week of June and closes on the 15th of October due to severe snowfall. It is also closed during the monsoon season due to the increased risk of landslides. The other route via Shimla and Kaza is open throughout the year.

Nearby Places to Visit 

Kibber Village: Kibber, located approximately 1.6 kilometers from Key Monastery, is the highest motorable town worth seeing. The town is well-known for the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary and the local Kibber Monastery, which are located among stunning mountains and rough landscapes.

Spiti Valley: Spiti Valley is sometimes known as Little Tibet. Kaza, the largest town of Spiti Valley, lies 14 kilometers from Key Monastery. The Kunzum Pass and Chandratal Lake enthrall visitors as they enter Spiti from Lahaul.

Spiti is a trekker’s and adventurer’s paradise, with numerous demanding and breathtaking trekking paths surrounded by magnificent mountains and landscapes.

Kunzum Pass: At the height of 4,551 meters, The Kunzum Pass is one of India’s highest motorable mountain passes and a photographer’s paradise. Kunzum Pass offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Bara-Shigri Glacier as well as Spiti Valley.

Chandratal Lake: Chandratal Lake, one of the most stunning lakes in the Himalayas, is a 15-kilometer journey from Kunzum Pass. The crescent-shaped lake is every camper’s and trekker’s dream owing to its wonderful location.

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Frequently Askee Questions

Generally, visitors are welcome, but it’s essential to respect the monastery’s rules and guidelines. Dress modestly, avoid loud noises, and follow any specific instructions provided by the monks.

The Cham Festival is the Key Monastery’s yearly festival, which takes place in June or July. The great event, which represents the triumph of good over evil, features Cham dancers dressed in colorful costumes and masks, followed by a procession of Lamas. Pilgrims who attend the festival lie down on the ground so that the Lamas might walk over them to cleanse them of sicknesses and spirits. The festival begins with the lighting of a giant butter sculpture.

Photography may be restricted in certain areas of the monastery, especially during religious ceremonies. It’s advisable to ask for permission before taking pictures and to respect the privacy and sacredness of the surroundings.

You can stay at the guesthouses nearby for a minimum of INR 250 per night, which also includes food. If you wish to experience the tranquil lifestyle of monks and learn about their unique culture, you should stay at the monastery which also has a very minimal cost. Make sure that you check the availability beforehand. You can also enjoy the magnificent view from the top of the monastery.

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